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Wisconsin CU League News Release - 10/24/12


1 year after Bank Transfer Day, consumers still fleeing to credit unions here, nationally


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Christine Henzig
Director of Communications
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Pewaukee, WI -  In the year since a nationwide social media campaign urged consumers to move their money from big banks to credit unions on “Bank Transfer Day” (Nov. 5, 2011), 43,303 Wisconsinites have opened savings accounts and 73,643 have established checking accounts at credit unions, contributing to the strongest growth in these areas that credit unions nationwide have experienced in over a decade.


The nation’s 7,100 federal and state-chartered credit unions added 2.2 million new members in the 12 months ending June 2012, according to the latest figures available from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) the federal regulator, and Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the national trade group.


This nationwide gain is roughly equivalent to the number of all Wisconsin citizens using credit unions. This 2.2% growth rate—more than double the rate of growth seen for the entire U.S. population—is the fastest the industry has seen since June 2000-June 2001. Total U.S. credit union membership is 95 million.


A modern-day record of nearly 2.9 million new checking accounts were opened at U.S. credit unions in the 12 months ended June 30, the most since at least 1989, according to data from NCUA and CUNA. Where consumers conduct their checking typically indicates where they are likely to transact most of their financial business.

Membership growth in Wisconsin during this period is the largest it's been since 2010. Checking account growth here—at 6.6%—is the largest in over a decade, and surpasses the national growth rate of 6.4%.

“Consumers are acting as if every day is Bank Transfer Day," said Wisconsin Credit Union League President Brett Thompson. "While the strength and safety of credit unions attracted many consumers during the economic downturn, consumers have grown more loyal and are spreading the news because of the savings they're seeing."


Because they are member-owned and have no stockholders, credit unions return earnings to depositors through higher rates on savings, lower rates on loans, and lower and fewer fees. Wisconsin consumers saved $201 million in 2011 by using credit unions rather than banks. That's about $76 per member or $144 per family.


Although free checking is disappearing at banks, about 90% of Wisconsin credit unions still offer this. Credit union loan rates are almost 2 percentage points lower compared to banks. Consumers using a credit union instead of a bank can save close to $1,200 on a new car loan, just over a full percentage point in interest on a credit card, and $15 in fees on a late credit card payment. Credit unions also make small business loans typically shunned by banks.

Consumers who use credit unions also enjoy free access to 30,000 ATMs, the largest ATM network in the country, and can make transactions at 4,800 branches, the nation's fourth largest branch network.

Learn more about credit unions and find one you can use at


Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions that are owned by their members and do not have stockholders. Because they are not-for-profit, they return earnings to members via more competitive rates of return on accounts, lower interest on loans, lower fees and improved services. Around 2.3 million Wisconsin residents belong to credit unions, of which nearly half are open to the local community. Find a credit union to join by visiting The League’s REAL Solutions Scorecard explains how credit unions returned more than $201 million to their members in 2011 and served their communities regardless of profit. It is available at


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